Dr Keith Thomas
Keith was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sunderland for over 30 years and is widely respected for his work in the fields of microbiology and biotechnology.
He established Brewlab in 1986, primarily aimed at working with craft breweries to develop more consistent brewing standards and training new young brewers.
Keith is an accredited trainer for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling with specialisms in yeast physiology, brewing microbiology and effects of dispense on beer. He has written extensively on these and other topics in trade and academic publications.
One of Keith’s most acclaimed papers entitled “Mapping of agronomic traits, disease resistance and malting quality” reported the discovery of natural disease resistance in historic barley varieties. The Chevallier barley studied is now a popular choice for organic brewing.
Another significant body of research involved cloning DNA of yeast in a beer, retrieved from an 1825 shipwreck which was then used to brew Flag Porter a recreation beer of that era.
A more recent study isolated yeasts and conducted DNA profiles from another shipwreck beer, the Wallachia which sank in 1895. Preliminary microbiological and chemical analysis of two historical stock ales from Victorian and Edwardian brewing.
Keith manages the company, contributes to course delivery and oversees all R&D projects.
He also founded our sister company Darwin Brewery that supplies all types of outlets in the North East, winning various local and national awards. Darwin provides opportunities for students to experience commercial brewing but also to support research into brewing operations – and trial production of historical recreations.